Leader: ‘Calls for ashes inquiry can’t be ignored’

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DEMANDS for a full public inquiry into the scandal of parents being denied their babies’ ashes cannot be ignored.

Ever since the Evening News first exposed the practices at Mortonhall Crematorium, the calls have been growing steadily louder.

This newspaper has already expressed its support for the ongoing probe which is being led by former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini into what happened in Edinburgh.

But it has also been clear for some time now that this is a nationwide scandal which may well require the clout of a full inquiry to get the answers which the parents involved so desperately need.

Both the city council in setting up the initial inquiry and the Scottish Government in establishing a commision have already proved they are taking this scandal seriously.

Yesterday, there was a signal from the First Minister that he is willing to listen to the case for an inquiry.

This is a positive sign and will give renewed hope to campaigners, not least Sands Lothian whose work uncovered what had happened at Mortonhall.

A full public inquiry could happen quickly by simply expanding the remit of Dame Elish and handing her the power which may be necessary to get to the truth.

Witnesses who may be reluctant otherwise could then be compelled to give evidence and this in turn would ensure we are getting as complete a picture as possible of what went wrong, why, and who is reponsible.

Yes, we need to ensure with new legislation that nothing like this can ever happen again, but grieving families in Edinburgh and across Scotland also need to find the closure which will only come with answers.

As this scandal continues to grow a full public inquiry is not only desirable, it’s the right thing and, increasingly, the only thing, to do.